‘My children, my little people were probably the only thing I had in life to value really. I didn’t have this grand relationship with my father and my mother, and all these grand friendships. I only had these little babies. They meant so much to me, I just decided I’ll do whatever needed to be done. But in saying that, I didn’t realise how much of a big fight ahead of me there was too. I entered into it very blindly not knowing how hard it was going to be physically and emotionally and mentally.
‘There are two defining moments for me. One was being in a parenting group and they were talking about different emotions of yourself and your children, looking at how to navigate that stuff. And I remember I had a tear in my eye and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even have common sense.” It was due to my past traumatic path. It was a survival instinct at first to shut down emotionally. Then it became a pattern so ingrained in me that I didn’t even know I was doing it to the point that I wasn’t even showing these emotions or speaking about these emotions. I had to then educate myself around human emotions, naming them and understanding what they are and what they look like. I could see that within myself and my children.
‘The other defining moments were being in a 12-step program and listening to other parents talk about the different types of neglect that they did to their children while using drugs or alcohol. Because what I had to realise was, you know, yes, my children were fed and they were bathed and off to school, but there was more to it than that. There was different ways I was neglecting my children that I didn’t understand. I wasn’t hearing them, I wasn’t meeting their emotional needs because I was emotionally disconnected.
‘So I had to again, get into therapy and work out and find a way – how do I emotionally connect to my own emotions so I could be emotionally available for my children? I had to look out for what my children were lacking from me. If that was a routine of me cooking homemade meals instead of buying takeout, if it was actually me sitting down and watching a movie with my children.’